Artwork Details

  • Artist Mariam Ghani
  • Title The Trespassers
  • Date 2010-2011
  • Medium Channel video, channel sound, mixed media installation
  • Credit Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation
The Trespassers Image

The Trespassers, 2010-2011

Mariam Ghani
The Trespassers, 2010-2011
1-channel video, 4-channel sound, mixed media installation
Dimensions variable
Installation view
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Art Foundation Collection


For The Trespassers, Mariam Ghani hired Afghan-Americans who had previously worked as translators for the US military in Afghanistan, translating documents related to US military prisons in Afghanistan. The idea behind these encounters was to test whether these individuals would be able to maintain the neutrality of a ‘simultaneous translator’ when confronted with the material of their own histories and to see how their work registered in and reacted to gaps in the records.

'The fidelity of translation is always a slippery slope. In situations where words have weight and consequences, is the translator responsible to render the spirit or the letter of the original? Does the act of translation, like the presence of an observer or a recording device, preclude or occlude, transform or make impossible the act of bearing witness?'
Mariam Ghani


The Trespassers

Ghani, Mariam

Mariam Ghani uses video, installation, performance, photography and text to explore notions of place, identity, community and history in work that often has an aspect of public dialogue or engagement.